Moving to increase its visibility among resellers and retail
customers in Japan, network hardware vendor Netgear Inc. has
struck an exclusive distribution deal with broadband
communications carrier and IT distributor Softbank BB (SBB).

The pact aims to “accelerate Netgear’s growth in Asia,” according
to company chairman and chief executive Patrick Lo. With the pace
of adoption of broadband to the desktop accelerating in the
consumer arena, Netgear sees the Japanese market as source of
significant growth, Lo said.

Netgear, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has offered its
business-class networking products in Japan for several years and
sees the market as “ripe” for its new crop of high-speed consumer
wireless products, added Lo.

To drive the expansion program, Netgear appointed Naoki Hayashida
as its manager in Japan, hiring him away from Polycom Japan,
where he held a similar position. According to Hayashida, Netgear
is hiring additional employees in Japan, is enhacning its
services and support offerings, and is stepping up its marketing

As exclusive distributor, Tokyo-based SBB will provide Netgear
products to a network of resellers, including retail stores and
systems integrators. An IT distributor for more than 20 years,
SBB broadened its horizons by launching Japanese DSL service in
June 2001, signing roughly 3.9 million subscribers since then. In
April 2002, it rolled out a broadband voice service that now has
more than 3 million customers, according to the company.

Netgear currently derives about ten percent of its total revenue
from the Asia-Pacific region. The company’s worldwide net revenue
for the quarter ended September 28, 2003 was $75.8 million, an 18
percent jump compared with the $64.4 million posted a year